Arab Soccer Player Quits Israel's National Team, Year After Criticizing Jerusalem Violence

Hoffenheim forward Munas Dabbur, heckled by fans since blasting excessive use of force at Al-Aqsa, announces he will no longer represent the Israeli national team

Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky
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Dabbur, after scoring a goal for the national team in 2019.
Dabbur, after scoring a goal for the national team in 2019.Credit: Nir Keidar
Ido Rakovsky
Ido Rakovsky

Arab soccer player Munas Dabbur announced on Tuesday he was retiring from Israel's national soccer team, a little over a year after his criticism of Israeli policy concerning Jerusalem's holy sites drew condemnations from his teammates and Israeli soccer fans.

The 30-year-old forward who plays for German Bundesliga team Hoffenheim, announced his decision on Instagram, without elaborating on why he made it.

"I would like to inform you of my decision that my part of the Israeli national team has come to an end. I would like to thank my family and everyone who has ever supported me," he wrote in a brief message, along with a photo of him in the national soccer team's uniform.

In May last year – during a wave of unrest surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem that also spilled into ethnic violence across the country and fighting between Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip – Dabbur wrote on Instagram: “God will deal with the perpetrators of injustice.”

He later explained that the post was a protest against the use of excessive force by the Israeli security forces, as a result of which an elderly relative of his was injured.

Since then, he has been the target of constant booing by Israeli soccer fans, and he was not selected to play in two following matches of the national team. Furthermore, he was forced to apologize publicly to his teammates.

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